Just one more win.
That's how far away the Enterprise Lady Bulldogs are from closing out an amazing season. After beginning the year 4-8, EHS has won 15 of their last 19 games, including Friday afternoon's 6-3 win over East Webster in the MHSAA Class 2A Fast-Pitch Softball Championships.
"She really had control of her game today, especially her change-up," EHS head coach Davey Dewitt said of Harper. "That's her big pitch and she can throw it anytime she wants to for a strike. That gives her an edge."
She used that edge over-and-over on Friday afternoon, keeping the Lady Wolverines off balance, striking out seven while not giving up a walk.
The Lady Bulldogs used an RBI bunt and a pair of clutch doubles to build a 6-0 lead after four innings, before East Webster rallied for three runs in the sixth.
"That's something we've been doing," Dewitt said of getting ahead early and then seeing the lead dwindle. "I don't know if we get a lead and think Hayleigh's on the mound and we've got it from there or what. We just seem to relax a bit."
East Webster used three singles and two EHS errors to cut it to 6-3 in the top of the sixth, but Harper worked around one error in the top of the seventh without much trouble, striking out the final batter to end the game.
The two teams meet today at 10 a.m. at Freedom Ridge Park for Game 2 in the best-of-three championship series. A third game, if needed, will be played in the afternoon.
After the Lady Bulldogs went up 1-0 on an RBI single by Harper in the first inning, they responded with a three-spot in the second to seemingly take control of the game.
After Delaney Davidson and Jess Turner singled to begin the inning, Lauren Smith rolled a well-executed bunt all the way into right field to score Davidson from second.
"I was just trying to get the ball past the pitcher and I wound up on second base," Smith said. "I wasn't expecting that."
"That was big for us," Dewitt said "I was just trying to get another runner on base and we wound up scoring on the play.”
One out later Brittany Hagwood mashed a two-run double to the left-field fence to seal the big inning.
"That was a big, big hit for us," Dewitt said. "She really needed that. I think that gave her a little boost."
Smith delivered an RBI bloop double just over the shortstop's head in the third inning to put the winners up 5-0, with Harley Smith driving in Enterprise's sixth run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left in the fourth.
The Lady Bulldogs had 10 hits on the game, with Davidson leading the way with three singles, while Smith and Hagwood had a double and single each.
Enterprise is seeking its third fast-pitch state title, having won the crown in 2010 and 2011. East Webster won four consecutive championships from 2006-2009.
Just one more win.
Stephens calls 2013 defensive line ‘by far the best’
With all the talk centering around East Mississippi Community College’s prolific offense, which has averaged an eye-popping 63.2 points per game, it is easy to forget just how well its defense has played this season.
TSOUKALAS: Mindset crucial to EMCC run
The trip down I-45 to Scooba is one of the loneliest in the state. To get close to anything remotely resembling a big city requires at least a 40 minute drive — that’s if you count Meridian, Starkville and Columbus as big cities.
USM breaks losing streak, looks forward
Southern Mississippi's embarrassing losing streak that stretched more than 700 days, two head coaches and 23 excruciating games is finally history.
MHS sweeps past Wayne County
Two tradition rich hardwood rivals met Tuesday night in prep action, featuring the Meridian Wildcats and Wayne County War Eagles. However, it was Meridian coming away with a clean sweep on the night.
The Lady Wildcats beat the Lady War Eagles, 54-38, while the Wildcats whipped the Wayne County, 76-45.
Round up: Lady Tigers advance in East Central tourney
The Southeast Lauderdale girls basketball team advanced to semifinal in the East Central Tournament Tuesday night with a 69-36 win over Newton County.
Timarra Trussell led the way for the Lady Tigers with 28 points, while Shakira Shoemaker chipped in with 10 points. Caitlyn McCree led Newton County with 10 points.
Southeast improved to 5-1 on the season and will face Choctaw Central on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Fantasy forecast: It’s time for fantasy playoffs
The fantasy playoffs are finally here!
Last Wednesday, I said I really liked Nate Burleson (WR/DET). That’s because he was averaging six catches for 80 yards a game before being hurt, and in his first game back he had seven catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. But, that is a small sample size after missing seven weeks. So, it was a gamble worth taking in the regular season, but not in the playoffs. Here, you want to play only your most sure players.
Former Knight wraps up successful college career
Way before he was the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year, before earning a conference tournament MVP, East Tennessee State soccer player Nate Hodges was a four-year-old, pouting on the side of his older brother Patrick’s soccer game in Collinsville.
Rick Cleveland: Perspective needed in rivalries
Rivalry Week showed us all that is right with college football: the drama, the pageantry, the passion and so much more.
Mississippi State's Jackson wins the Conerly
Mississippi State left guard Gabe Jackson was named the winner of the Conerly Trophy on Tuesday night, becoming the first offensive lineman to earn the honor in its 18-year history.
The 6-foot-4, 340-pound Jackson beat out a field of five finalists, including Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace, during the ceremony at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
Seahawks control NFC with 34-7 win over Saints
The rest of the NFC better get ready to visit the Pacific Northwest in January. After Monday night's rout, the road through the NFC playoffs is almost certain to go through Seattle.
- More Sports Headlines
- Stephens calls 2013 defensive line ‘by far the best’